NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group has issued an advocacy update with important new information for theatres keeping an eye on the federal relief package currently making its way through Congress. A post from director of advocacy Laurie Baskin notes that, whether a theatre has already applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan or has been waiting for the launch of the Shuttered Venue Program, these new updates should be carefully reviewed. Under current rules, applicants can only choose to apply for either the PPP loan or the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), though, as Baskin notes, those rules may be changing as Congress considers the current relief package. Baskin offers the following updates:
- The Senate has added a provision to the latest relief package, the American Rescue Plan, that would allow 2021 PPP recipients to apply for SVOG. Those recipients could then deduct the value of their PPP loan from the applicant’s SVOG maximum grant amount, which is 45 percent of earned revenue in 2019, with a cap of $10 million. This offer, Baskin notes, is not set in stone, and can’t be confirmed until the new relief act is signed into law. Congress and the White House are aiming to finish the bill before March 15.
- This week, PPP reopens to all applicants following a 14-day period during which applications were only being accepted from sole proprietors and companies with fewer than 20 employees. That period ends tomorrow (March 9) at 5 p.m. ET, at which point lenders will return to processing all applications. For those who have yet to apply, the 2021 PPP program closes on March 31.
- The timing around the SVOG program is less certain, with there still being a possibility that the program may not launch until after the end of March. According to Baskin, the Small Business Administration (SBA) intends to continue crafting guidance, application, and training materials for the program, providing a span of time for applicants to prepare, then open the portal.
- As an update on available funding, Baskin notes that, as of the end of February, roughly half of PPP funding made available for 2021 had been distributed to loan applicants. It’s too soon to tell how quickly the $15 billion in SVOG funding will be depleted since the program has yet to launch.
- The SBA has also revised the “payroll expenses” formula for eligible self-employed individuals (sole proprietors, gig workers, 1099s), allowing them to qualify for a larger PPP loan. This new formula, which allows self-employed applicants to qualify using their “gross income” on Line 7 of their Schedule C for either 2019 or 2020, is more equitable to those individuals and will result in more forgivable loan funds. This change, effective March 3, was part of four changes announced by the Biden administration aimed at prioritizing PPP to provide more support to underserved small businesses and self-employed workers.
Additionally, the SBA has published updated eligibility requirements, a preliminary application checklist, and a SVOG Frequently Asked Questions page. Visit Baskin’s post for additional resources and information.
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